Wall of Sound's 15th Anniversary Party

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 November, 2009, 12:00am

Wall of Sound's 15th Anniversary Party
Sammi's Kitchen
Sat, 10.30pm

It's hard to believe that the man who backed artists ranging from rock band Mogwai to hip hop DJ Felix Da Housecat likes the Beach Boys.

'For me there are only two forms of music: good and bad,' says Mark Jones, founder of legendary independent label Wall of Sound.

'Music is either made with meaning and passion - or it's not.'

Five songs that changed his life are the Beach Boys' God Only Knows, the Human League's Being Boiled, Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, E-Klektik's Maracana Madness and Pierre's Pfantasy Club.

'I'm not anti-pop, it just means popular music after all, but I don't understand the point of creating something that doesn't have a meaning or isn't a breakthrough in some way,' Jones says.

A visual artist by training, his musical sensibilities were 'discovered' in the 1980s by Soul Trader boss Marc Lessner, who was tickled by his equal love for funk, soul, hip hop - and the Monkees. In 1993, Jones compiled some of his favourite independent songs on one disc, Give 'Em Enough Dope, Vol1, and released it under a label he named after Phil Spector's 'wall of sound' recording technique. The label's credibility was further enhanced after signing electronic acts such as Dirty Beatniks, Zoot Woman and Les Rythmes Digitales.

In the past 15 years Wall of Sound has represented an impressive range of acts, mostly handpicked by Jones: Mogwai, Grace Jones, the Propellerheads and Royksopp, to name a few. Next up is the newly signed 19-year-old pop singer Cosmo Jarvis, who is set to release his eponymous debut album this month.

Jones on Saturday takes to the decks at Sammi's Kitchen, where he also celebrates his label's 15th anniversary. 'I'm not a DJ. I'm just playing stuff I like, stuff that inspires me. Which is anything and everything,' Jones says. 'It'd be great if everyone could wear a pink wig.'

He still sounds enthusiastic after 15 years in the music business. 'I still feel very passionate about the music we're creating, more if possible,' he says. 'Maybe because over the years I've developed a greater understanding of what music means to people.'

Jones is also embracing his love-hate relationship with the internet. 'Music's much more accessible now. Back then if you were a musician posting a demo CD to some address, you'd never know if anyone would ever hear it. But now with the advent of MySpace, Facebook, etc, anyone can hear it,' he says.

'The problem is the devaluation of the worth of music. Generations are brought up thinking music should be free, which is sad.'

G/F San Toi Building, 137-139 Connaught Rd Central, Sheung Wan, HK$250 (advance, with one drink and CD) or HK$280 (door, with one drink), from HMV, Love Da Records, Zoo Records and Sammi's Kitchen. Inquiries: 2264 1025